Mount Kenya Trekking Information
Other important information
Mount Kenya at 5199 m is the second highest mountain in Africa after Kilimanjaro. Located directly on the equator, it offers a large number of ascent routes. It has 3 main peaks (Batian 5199m, Nelion 5188m, Lenana 4985m). The volcanic towers Batian (5199m) and Nelion (5189m) majestically tower over a giant mountain with glacier fields and lush vegetation. Lenana is the "hiking summit" while Batian and Nelion have to be climbed. The visitor can expect several beautiful national park routes to the peaks and above all only moderate to very low visitor flow (compared to Kilimanjaro). At the right seasons there is the possibility of real pleasure walks through unspoilt landscapes, characterized by 5 vegetation zones. The Mt Kenya massif has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site for its scenic beauty, unique flora and fauna. Mt Kenya has a base of 120 km with enjoyable climbs and great hiking routes in afro-alpine rainforest, moor forests and moor regions with tussock grass, lobelia and Senecia. Who avoids the demanding climbing on the twin peaks should climb the simple Pt. Lenana (4985m) and look into the fertile plains around the mountain or the wide deserts in the north in clear weather.
The forest border is about 3500 m. The equator line is about 15km away. Above the forest line there is a lush vegetation of tall grass, perennials and bushes, which reaches up to about 4,000 m. The rocky massif also contains firn and snow fields, mountain rivers, waterfalls and mountain lakes formed by crystal clear water in the former volcanic craters. Because clouds very often accumulate in the high mountain regions of the massif, which usually leads to heavy and prolonged rainfalls, a narrow strip of tropical rainforest could develop on its slopes. Therefore, the massif rises as a green island from the East African dry savannah.
Climbing trails lead up to the two main peaks (Batian and Nelion), which should only be climbed by mountaineers with the necessary fitness and suitable high mountain equipment and experience, because glacier fields and rock faces must also be overcome.
The ascent of Mt. Kenya (Pt. Lenana) does not place high demands on every participant in terms of mountaineering skills, but in return in terms of altitude tolerance and endurance. Their height tolerance cannot be enforced, only promoted by the slowest possible adjustment. The walking time is approx. 5 - 8 hours (on the summit day usually between 12 and 14 hours) in extremely different terrain formations. You will encounter mud, thickets, riverbeds, rocks and boulders. Due to rain the terrain is partly wet and slippery. You must be in excellent physical condition to complete this tour. Both the daily route and the vertical meters to overcome are not unusual. Before starting your trip, you should consult a doctor and have a thorough examination, as the effort and high altitude of this tour is very stressful for your heart and circulation. You will be accompanied by a local guide whose only task is to show you the right way. The guides are not mountain guides in the European sense, but they are extremely experienced Mt Kenya climbers. The ability to make independent decisions when climbing is required. As is usual among mountaineers, your companionable help with camp life is expected as a contribution to the success of the mountain tour.
Your luggage (max. 12kg) is carried by porters. For your personal belongings (changing clothes, camera etc.) you need a backpack with approx. 35l volume.
The ascent of the highest peak of Mt. Kenya, Batian 5199m, is technically very demanding. The ascent via the northern standard route includes a 10 hour climb over 1100m with a degree of difficulty of up to 6+ and should be undertaken between July and September. The same applies to a 6-hour climb over 700m to the Nelion 5188m, the second highest peak.
Tips for summiters:
Advice on trekking tours at high altitudes is not so easy, as the experience and study data have so far been gained primarily from professional mountaineers. In addition, the data available for people who already have a chronic disease, especially of the lungs or the cardiovascular system, is rather poor.
High altitudes can make you sick:
The higher you go, the more often the symptoms appear: From 2500 meters to 3000 meters every fifth person suffers from altitude sickness, from 4000 meters, already more than half and on the almost 6000 meters high Kilimanjaro it is even 80 percent. This is due to decreasing air pressure, which is also the cause of altitude sickness. The so-called oxygen partial pressure ensures that the gas penetrates from the lungs into the fine lung capillaries. At 5300 meters, the oxygen partial pressure is half as high as normal. Less pressure means less oxygen in the lungs. But the body needs it to survive. Furthermore, the dry mountain air can cost a lot of liquid when breathing. That is why it is very important to drink enough water, if necessary even beyond your thirst.
Slow ascent is advisable:
The body can adapt, but that takes time. Until that happens, you automatically breathe faster and deeper to pump more oxygen into the blood and blood pressure rises. At the same time, the body produces the hormone erythropoietin, which stimulates blood formation. After several days the body can bind more oxygen and the blood pressure drops. If you want to avoid altitude sickness, you should acclimatise slowly. The acclimatization takes about three to four days per 500 vertical meters. This could also be the reason why older mountaineers are less affected, because they take more time to climb up. Younger people are more likely to suffer from mountain sickness because they rise faster.
Descent is the best therapy for altitude sickness:
Mild symptoms such as mild headaches are treated with painkillers, which can alleviate the symptoms. Physicians or pharmacists advise on the selection of suitable preparations. However, the best therapy for altitude sickness remains the descent. Those affected should descend to the height at which they were last free of complaints. The symptoms usually subside within an hour. The best thing for hikers is to take a day break. This option is not available to group travellers who need to go on, although they would still need one more day for acclimatisation. To at least relieve the symptoms, certain medications may be prescribed by your doctor for prevention. Contrary to popular belief, Gingko is not one of them. Dexamethasone or carboanhydrase inhibitors are more likely to help. However, they can cause side effects. The drugs are suitable, for example, for alpinists known to be sensitive to altitude or if the ascent is only possible at short notice. A detailed consultation with a doctor or altitude physician is especially recommended for beginners and before larger trekking tours.
Be careful with these complaints:
Severe symptoms, such as drowsiness and walking disorders or shortness of breath and cough, should be taken seriously. There could also be signs of elevated cerebral edema or elevated pulmonary edema. These diseases are rare, but life-threatening emergencies. Here the transport to the bottom must take place as quickly as possible. Trekkers should therefore always listen carefully to their body's signals and adjust their behaviour accordingly.
You will find a climate that is extremely well tolerated by Europeans; it is one of the best in the world. The selected period should be July to September. Nevertheless, fog, rain and, in higher regions, snowfall are to be expected in the period from July to September. Depending on the altitude, temperatures can vary between 30°C and -10°C (summit area Pt. Lenana). Pleasant day temperatures of up to 15°C at an altitude of 4000m usually drop below freezing point at night! Climbing Mt Kenya means passing through tropical to almost arctic climates within a few days. In the rainy season it is most likely get rain and snow, in any case bad weather. The Mount-Kenya massif is characterised by a tropically humid climate, which is characterised by very high humidity (up to 80%) and heavy rainfall (it rains on around 200 days a year), so that the lower mountain slopes can turn into mud slides.
You should attach great importance to a careful selection of the equipment, because who must fight already daily with its unsatisfactory equipment, neither the necessary efficiency, nor a good motivation is maintained. This earth spot is far too great to risk a tour stop due to lack of equipment!
We are always able to fulfil your special wishes or requirements, e.g. to take food wishes into account or to react to food intolerances. Additional guides, porters and summit bearers (e.g. for your heavy photographic equipment) are no problem. Each client can decide whether we should book additional mountaineers for him or whether he would like to be treated as a "closed" group.
This recommendation is valid for:
Mount Kenya Trekking, Point Lenana ascent.
Category: Medium trekking, 4985m.
Temperatures: at night to - 10°C / during the day around 0°C (at and above 4000m)
- 1 backpack for the daily stages (30-45 litres)
- 1 large travel bag, duffel bag, packing bag or large backpack (60-80 litres), transport on the mountain by carrier (max. 18kg).
- 1 small bag to the material depot in the hotel
- Passport +1 copy
- Insurance receipt for accident, salvage and foreign countries.
- Cash, Visa card
- small first aid kit with personal medication
- Comfortable shoes
- Sandals, swimming trunks
- Set of travel clothing
Important little things:
- 1 hygiene bag+content
- 1 soap, 1 small towel
- 1 Sunscreen (min. F20)
- 1 Lipstick sunscreen (min. F20)
- 1 glacier glasses / sunglasses (good finish, at least cat. 3)
- Approx. 1 kg personal tasty snacks (energy bars, etc.)
- 1 head lamp
- 1-2 spare batteries
- 1 thermally insulated water bottle
- Optional: knife, multitool, iPod, Kindel or a good book
- Clothing and sleeping (range from +30°C to - 10°C for day and night)
- 1 pair of hiking boots: worn and comfortable!
- 1 pair of gaiters (optional, otherwise flush-fitting trousers)
- 3 pairs of hiking socks: polypropylene or wool, warm
- 2-3 x underwear
- 2 breathable T-shirts (short-sleeved)
- 1 breathable shirt (long sleeves)
- 1 breathable trousers
- 1 Warm cap
- 1 pair of wind/waterproof gloves
- 1 pair of lightweight gloves
- 1 Wind/Waterproof trousers
- 1 warm sweater
- 1 Wind/Waterproof jacket
- 1 down jacket with down hood (optional)*, otherwise warm jacket
- 1 sleeping bag warm (min. to -15C)
- 1 insulation mat (thin, as an addition to the provided mat)
- 1 trekking poles (optional)